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The much-anticipated ‘Try, Inspire and Qualify’ (TIQ) weekend took place at Foxlease on the weekend of 9-11th September. Around 100 adult members from all over the Region joined together to try out new activities and meet like-minded people.

Activities included abseiling, archery, bushcraft, geocaching and 1st Response training. The weekend was an opportunity to inspire leaders to learn new skills, try new activities and gain confidence. Participants were also able to undertake recognised qualifications, such as MIDAS, Archery instructor and Level 1 Walking, and network with fellow leaders.

The Region Marketing Officer, Kate, caught up with some of the participants over lunch. This is some of the feedback she received for the weekend:

  • ‘Great opportunity to try new things’
  • ‘We are trying new things that perhaps we would be too nervous to try in front of the girls for the first time’
  • ‘It’s great to do the activities without feeling embarrassed or having to put a brave face on, in front of the girls’
  • ‘It’s been great to have something for the Leaders and put yourself first as a Leader, when usually girls always come first’

A group of three leaders who didn’t previously know each other met at TIQ in 2018 and are now great friends, all from different sections and areas. One leader advised, ‘come on your own, you’ll make loads of new friends, everyone is so like-minded. Another added, ‘don’t worry about coming alone – the timetable is full, but flexible.’

One of the participants is deaf, so the help of two BSL interpreters was enlisted for the weekend allowing her to get the full experience. Kate had a chat with her after the 1st Response course, and she told her that she had never been allowed to use the AED machine before, or been given in-depth first aid training. It meant so much to her that she was able to take part in the course, noting it was something she’s not been given the opportunity to do before.

She said, ‘I really enjoyed my experience, it was brilliant for me. The trainer was brilliant and adjusted everything to suit my needs’.

Kate asked two of the other participants on the 1st Response training what they thought. Jodie said, ‘brilliant training, really good fun’, and Georgia said, ‘it was really interesting to see what has changed since last time I did a First Aid course, really great to get updated’.

On the Friday evening, our Chief Commissioner, Laura Cottey, led time for reflection to honour the life of our patron, Her Majesty the Queen. She was joined by attendees who lit candles in memory of the Queen after observing a two-minute silence.

It was evident that all attendees were delighted with the weekend, eagerly looking forward to the next one in 2024. Region would like to thank the amazing volunteers who made the weekend a success, we wouldn’t be able to offer these opportunities without the help and expertise of our wonderful volunteers. Special thanks go to Vikki Burr, who kept everyone very well fed for the entire weekend – no mean feat!

Olivia Cox, Deputy Chief Commissioner and INSPIRE Lead Volunteer, writes of the weekend:

‘Inspire members managed to enjoy a full weekend of activities, with time to socialise together! Some were off paddling whilst others geocached or abseiled! There were certainly a lot of Inspire taking on the zip wire Sunday morning. TIQ was the perfect opportunity to catch up with County coordinators as well as meet newly recruited members, some using TIQ as their first social event. Members held a small, low-key campfire on the Saturday evening, singing low and slow songs to honour her Majesty the Queen and took the opportunity to reflect and chat to others.’


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Girlguiding South West England is an operating name of The Guide Association South West England. Registered Charity No. 305951

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